ARMSTRONG - A year ago, North Union recorded its first-ever victory with a win in the season opener against Estherville Lincoln Central.
On Friday, the Midgets celebrated the advent of new coach Andrew Umthun with a 39-28 victory over the Warriors.
ELC saw a two-touchdown half-time lead disappear, but then scored the next two touchdowns and held on for a 39-28 victory.
ELC’s Joe Heinrichs (4) also in a pass that was bobbled a couple times before landing in his hands. North Union’s Braden Ortman (5) had the coverage.
Photo by David Swartz
Both teams finished with over 400 yards of offense. Justin Heinrichs did most of the damage for ELC as he ran the ball 11 times for 152 yards and two scores and went 9-of-15 passing for 173 yards. Joe Heinrichs caught five of those passes for 141 yards and one score. Billy Snyder also rushed 16 times for 126 yards and three scores.
Coach Umthun said he had expected a low-scoring defensive battle instead of a shootout.
"The offense played extremely well," he said. "It's just nice to get a win under the belt in the first week."
ELC started its opening drive on its 32-yard line and opened with an 18-yard pass from Justin Heinrichs to Avery Hansen. ELC drove across midfield with a 20-plus yard run by Billy Snyder taking ELC to the Warrior 26.
ELC's defense stalled a bit after a sack by North Union's Chase Paulson followed by a short pass on second a long, ELC's first penalty and an incomplete pass on third and 14 from the Warrior 30.
But ELC switched Joe Heinrichs from the left side of the field to the right and he hauled in a 30-yard pass from Justin. Anthony Segura's kick gave ELC a 7-0 lead at the 9:11 mark of the first quarter.
On North Union's first drive, ELC appeared to have the defensive stop when Aric Runge completed a 42-yard pass to Jacob Braddock out of the backfield on third and 13.
That set up first and goal at the ELC 4-yard line. Three plays later, Cody Runksmeier went around the left side for a 2-yard run.
ELC didn't take long to score its second touchdown. Starting at the ELC 26, a big run by Snyder took ELC across midfield. Justin then connected with Joe on a 35-yards pass and then Snyder took the ball in with 11 yards out at the 3:09 mark of the first quarter.
An interception by Joe Heinichs on North Union's next drive set up another ELC score. Snyder ran the ball in from 5-yards out with 39. 2 seconds left in the first quarter. Segura's PAT kick made the score 21-7.
Both defenses began to make stops in the second quarter, which was highlighted by one unusual play.
ELC was called for a pass interference penalty. Not an automatic first down, the chain gang had started move. The referees marked the ball from where the ball marker flag was at and North Union faced third and inches. ELC pushed the Warriors back on the next play and on fourth and 3, the hosts were called for a false start.
ELC's defense held on downs. While the Midgets began to drive before the end of the first half, a Justin Heinrichs pass was intercepted by Runge to stop ELC from scoring.
But the Midgets held a 21-7 halftime lead.
The Warriors showed some determination in the second half.
Runge connected with Runksmeier on a pas into ELC territory. On the very next play, Runksmeier ran the ball in from 32 yards out.
The North Union defense made a stop and the Warriors began to drive again. This time, Braden Ortman made a catch on second and 20 as he was tackled at the 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Runge took the ball in from a yard out. Jonas Hoffman's kick tied the game at 21-21.
Coach Umthun said ELC may have relaxed a bit too much after halftime.
"At halftime I was feeling great," he said. "But we kind of let North Union back in instead of making a statement. I give North Union credit for coming back though."
North Union's celebration of the tie was short-lived.
On the first play from scrimmage, Justin Heinrichs made an 80-yard run that zigzagged across the field. While Segura's kick was blocked, ELC led 27-21.
North Union again put together a drive, but it stalled deep in ELC territory as the Midgets took over on downs with about 8 minutes left in the game.
A couple plays later, Justin Heinrichs had a 74-yard touchdown run called back on a penalty. But ELC put together a clock eating drive that ended on a 2-yard run by Snyder with 2:39 left in the game. ELC's two-point conversion attempt failed as the Midgets led 33-21.
Still, it appeared ELC had the game in hand.
But North Union wasn't done yet. Runge connected on a 64-yard pass to Trent Pedersen. The kick made the score 33-28 with 2:21 remaining.
ELC's Carsten Bosch covered up the ensuing onside kick at the Midget 47.
The Midgets went for directly for the score with Justin Heinrichs connected with Rodrick Fuller on a 17-yard pass. ELC kept driving and Justin Heinrichs scored on a 5-yard run for the final tally.
The Warriors finished with 170 rushing yards on 48 carries. Runksmeier had 91 yards on 10 carries, Marshall Klingenberg had 53 yards on 12 carries and Runge had 53 yards on 17 carries.
Runge was 8-of-13 passing for 204 yards. Pedersen had two catches for 73 yards; Braddock had two catches for 48 yards; Shaun Cook had one catch for 29 yards; Ortman had one catch for 34 yards and Runksmeier had two catches for 20 yards.
ELC (1-0) hosts Algona next Friday.
North Union (0-1) is on the road in Algona against Bishop Garrigan.